The Italians were onto something when they created biscotti – not only are these dense, crunchy cookies the perfect pick-me-up, but they also serve as the absolute ultimate accompaniment to a morning cappuccino. And while we’re used to them being centered around slivered almonds, Sarabeth’s is doing things a little differently, especially as our mindsets shift slowly from the restraint of Ramadan to the decadence of Eid.
The beloved breakfast and brunch spot, which first earned its reputation for those legendary fruit jams and spreads, is borrowing from the season to give biscotti a regional twist, courtesy of dates. Bonus? They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days and make for a great hostess gift – but who says you’ll want to share?
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup orange-apricot marmalade
- 1/3 cup date purée
- 1 large egg white, beaten, for glazing
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium to high speed until smooth, about one minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat, occasionally scraping down the bowl with a silicone spatula until light in color and texture, about two minutes. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla and beat, scraping the bowl occasionally, until well combined.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the orange juice in one addition. Mix just until the dough clumps together and the sides of the bowl are almost clean.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into a one-inch thick rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until just firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Prepare the date-orange spread by mixing the date purée and orange-apricot marmalade. Mix evenly.
Position the racks in the center and top third of the oven, and preheat to 177ºC. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly flour the work surface. Unwrap one piece of the dough and wrap the edges on the work surface to help prevent cracking during rolling. Place the dough on the work surface, sprinkle the top with flour, and roll out into a 15 by 8½ by ¼ inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper that is larger than the dough.
Using a small offset spatula, spread the date-orange-apricot marmalade spread over the dough, leaving a one-inch border around the edges. Fold the short ends over by one inch, then fold one long side over to cover the center third of the dough. Fold the remaining long side over the center to cover two-thirds of it. Use the parchment paper to carefully invert the dough seam side down onto one of the prepared half-sheet pans.
Repeat with the second piece of dough, using the same date-orange-apricot spread, and place on the other prepared pan. Lightly brush the loaves with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until loaves are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool on the pans for ten minutes.
While the loaves are still warm, use the parchment paper to carefully slide the loaves, still on the paper, onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut each loaf at a slight angle into one-inch wide pieces. Set wire racks on the half-sheet pans. Using a wide offset spatula, transfer the biscottis to the racks, spacing them ½ inch apart.
Bake the biscotti until lightly toasted, about eight to ten minutes. Cool completely on the racks before serving.